Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Problems with The Dark Knight

As many of you observant bloggers already know, I've been sick all week. So that mean lots playing (and losing) a lot more Call of Duty and watching a lot movies. Last night I watched The Dark Knight again. There's something strange that happens with me and Christoper Nolan's last two films, because the more times I see Inception and TDK, the less I like them. Wait. Put down the pitchforks and let me explain. Inception and The Dark Knight are both great films. There's no denying that (well, unless you're a h8er). It's just that after repeated viewings, the faults in each film become more and more visible. Since I saw TDK last, that shall be the focus of this rant. And here, we....GO.

oh Hai Scarecrow.
My first gripe revolves around The Scarecrow. Remember him? Cillian Murphy as Dr. Crane/The Scarecrow in Batman Begins, he was awesome. But then all of a sudden he's yesterday's news in The Dark Knight and Batman captures/punks him in all of 5 minutes. Really? He was badass enough to be the villian of the first film, but now he's like, last season's Dragon Ball Z bad guy and a total chump in part 2? What gives? At first I liked the link between the two and continuity of the whole Nolan/Batman universe, but now it's just kind of insulting and IMO, diminishes the weight of the first film.

Next, the dialogue. Nolan and his brother are a dynamic writing duo if there ever was one (hehe) but dear lawd I cringed at some of the wooden lines these A+ actors were forcibly spitting out. Sometimes, their epic choice of word play works well. Joker preaching about a "better class of criminal" was awesome. Gordon waxing philosophical with his 10 year old son/concluding the film for the audience via voice over, well. It's the ending we need, but not the ending me we deserve. Catch my drift?

Perhaps my biggest problem with movie rests with my home boy Christian Bale. Dude is easily my favorite actor yet his performance in The Dark Knight royally pisses me off. Well actually, it's THAT VOICE! Bale channeling Patrick Bateman is an awesome Bruce Wayne and when he dons the bat suit, he's the sickest Batman ever. Unfortunately, his Batman voice in TDK is beyond over the top (think Rocky Balboa gargling nails dipped in acid) and butchers some of his already stiff dialogue.

"You'll be in a padded cell forever."=/

I didn't let this stuff bother me the first dozen times I watched this film but now it stares me right in the face. Still a great movie though. Amazing visuals, action scenes and stellar performances from Araon Eckhart, Heath Ledger and Gary Oldman. Bale is the new De Niro in my book and became a huge megastar thanks to this flick, I just hope he lays off on the tough guy voice a tad in the next one. As for Nolan, dude has yet to make a bad film, but words of advice, you don't always have to go...deeper

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Buenos Dias: I'm Sick

So I'm sick. Spent the past two days in bed feeling like recycled excrement. You know the drill. This morning I woke up at 5:00am to use the restroom and lucky for me, couldn't fall back asleep. I watched some of the local morning news programs but they repeat the exact same stories every 30 mins and that got old around 6:00am. Thank God for the Spanish news stations!

Flipping the channels, in a half groggy, nasally congested stupor, I saw a radiant vision on Telemundo's Buenos Dias Los Angeles...her name: Elva Saray.

Now keep in mind this was six o'clock in the morning, I was half dead and had no idea what she or anyone on the broadcast was saying, but I still think I know true love when I see it. So if you're ever up at the ass crack dawn and in Southern California, I highly recommend you watch out for the lovely Miss Saray.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Black Metal Lulz: Hessian Hobbies

It's been awhile since my last Black Metal Lulz post. Fear not, I come bearing grim/hilarious gifts.
This video lampoons the wave of arson fires linked to Norwegian black metal bands in the early 90's, only this time, it's not to punish the Christian invaders, but for father-daughter bonding time!

This is exactly the type of stuff I plan on doing with my brood.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Movie Review: The Muppets

After a full day of driving and sitting and eating/gorging, sometimes you just want to unwind with some warm and fuzzy lulz. That's exactly what we did on Thanksgiving evening, watching The Muppets. I was taking a chance with this flick, hoping for some mindless fun and not a wretched train wreck. I grew up watching The Muppet Babies cartoon show and remember having The Muppet Christmas Carol on VHS but other than that, I'm wasn't too familiar with the original Muppets cast from the 1970's. I put my worries on hold though, after I recalled Jason Segel's awesome work with puppets in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Luckily, Segel and Kermit didn't let us down.

So the's a movie about muppets. It's funny because it plays on the cheesiness/absurdity of human/muppet interaction. It helps if you have some vested interest in the muppet brand (nostalgia goes a long way) but not entirely necessary. We went with some friends of ours who have never watched the muppets before in their lives yet enjoyed the movie all the same. The characters constantly burst into song and break the fourth wall, reminding us that it's all a movie. It's one thing when humans give a wink wink to the audience but when Fozzie Bear does it with his mouth agape, it's awesomely entertaining. I won't divulge much of the plot, since that isn't really all that important anyways. Lets just say, the muppet crew has been MIA for years but get reunited thanks to Jason Segel's character Gary and his muppet-ish brother Walter (yes, the little dude in the blue suit pictured above is supposed to be Segel's brother! ha) who want to save the old muppet theater from getting destroyed. Amy Adams' song and dance numbers are still enchanting (see what I did there?!), Chris Cooper plays a gnarly villain and the dozen or so celebrity cameos should surprise and delight even the snarkiest cynic. Dave Grohl and Selena Gomez were my favorites. Oh, Gomez...

So if you have a soul and like smiling, I'd recommend The Muppets to just about anyone.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thursday on Thanksgiving.

Yes. You are reading that correctly. Not Thanksgiving on Thursday, because this post refers to the band Thursday. News broke that the band is calling it quits after 13 years. Kind of bums me out. I was a huge fan of their  2001 album, Full Collapse. I liked their follow up War All The Time also, but sort of lost track of the band after that. Every time I'd hear about Thursday playing a Warped Tour date or doing a West Coast tour I'd say, yeah I'm down to see them live but never got around to actually doing it. See what happens when you procrastinate for a decade?!

So, I'm bumping some Thursday as I write this. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, which always lands on a...Thursday. This is my favorite Thursday song, which happens to fit the spirit of the original Thanksgiving pretty well IMO.

Enjoy your holiday everyone.

Monday, November 21, 2011

under-covers: Cyndi Lauper/Arcade Fire

Perhaps, one of the greatest guilty pleasures in my life: the perverse enjoyment I get listening to musicians covering other artist's songs. The weirder the cover, the better! It doesn't matter how awkward or horrible the quality (shitty cell phone video, I'm looking at you), I'm an absolute sucker for this stuff. Here's the first in a new installment I'm proud to call, "under-covers."

Today, we feature Cyndi Lauper's smash 1983 hit, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." This song has been a favorite of mine since I first heard Homer singing the chorus way back in "Lisa's First Word" (Episode 10, Season 4.1992!)
"That's all they really waaaaaaaaant"
Here's Cyndi's classic:

Who doesn't love this song? It's easily, one of the catchiest songs in the history of creation. Not to mention, Cyndi Lauper's voice is one in a million.

Now Arcade Fire's take.

This may sound insane, but I kind of enjoy their live version better. The pulsating bassline pushes through everything else and makes ya wanna get funky right?....right? All the 80's electronics and studio effects are gone, leaving only wild, toe tapping musicianship to fill the void. Vocally, Regine is no Cyndi Lauper, but she sings the song with such an honest, giddy school girl quality it kind of makes my bitter heart melt. Also, how rad is it seeing a bunch of six foot dudes singing along to this jam?

Love this song. Love this cover.
What do you think?

*Bonus Clip*
Did you know Cyndi's Lauper's version wasn't the original?! It's technically a cover as well!
The song "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" was originally written by some dude named Robert Hazard. He gave the song to Cyndi for her debut album and helped her create the famous version we all know today. HA. My first post...a cover, of a cover!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Singing in the shower

Loooong day today. Just got home from work. Time to take hot shower and cleanse myself from all the bullshit I've endured,  like Ed Norton, American History X style.

Also, this is EXACTLY how I sound when I sing in the shower....just in case anyone was curious.

Enjoy your weekend everyone.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

#OWS: 1% Logic

and now...

The moral learned from these two clips?
Think Small. Save the rich. God bless Citigroup. 99%, enjoy your Ritalin and STFU. Nice. =/

Who knows how long we'll have YouTube, Blogger, Reddit or sites we should not mention that create maxim lulz. The SOPA (Stop Internet Piracy Act) is going through the House of Representatives right now. Designed to protect the interests of the entertainment industry (the internet gives you options, which is bad for crap movies & albums didn't ya know?), this bill might inadvertently...or totally on purpose, lead to the complete censorship/strangulation of the web. But hey, if it works for China and Iran, it's good enough for us.

It's a big club...and you ain't in it!
Republicans/Democrats. It doesn't matter. They all bleed green not red, white and blue. There's not an inch left on the planet that hasn't been bought/sold/imperialized. Hell, "when deep space exploration ramps up, it'll be the corporations that name everything: the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks." You know the drill. The internet is the final frontier. Or at least, it was.


Shout out to Dustee! I discovered those Garfunkel and Oates chicks from one of her posts last week. Thanks again Miss.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Awesome Photo (3)

A whole gallery of candid, behind the scenes Star Wars photos for your viewing pleasure, available HERE.

because you people are awesome...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fox Searchlight

In case you missed my previous post (you know, the one directly below this one!), I'll summarize it by saying, I really liked the new film, Martha Marcy May Marlene. It's now in wide release and shouldn't be too hard to track down. It's a Fox Searchlight film. Another in a long line of awesome little films.
Here's a cool montage celebrating highlights from Fox Searchlight's awesome track record:

Here's the list of all the films shown for the curious:

12" - Sexy Beast, 28 Days Later, The Last King of Scotland

30" - The Full Monty, Bend It Like Beckham, In America, The Wrestler, Stealing Beauty, The Darjeeling Limited, Millions, Night Watch

1'07"- Sideways, Sunshine, Waking Ned Devine, The History Boys, Ameila, Little Miss Sunshine, Garden State

1'32" - Thirteen, The Namesake, Titus, Thank You For Smoking, Antwone Fisher, Street Kings, The Dancer Upstairs, The Good Thief, Waitress, 500 Days of Summer

2'00" - Best Laid Plans, Kinsey, The Savages, One Hour Photo, The Good Girl, The Clearing, Quills, Super Troopers, Once, Boys Don't Cry, Whip It, Notorious

2'30" - Slumdog Millionaire, Juno, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Secret Life of Bees, Water, Sideways, Crazy Heart, The Wrestler

3'00" - Fantastic Mr Fox, Stealing Beauty, I ♥ Huckabees, Notes on a Scandal, The Dreamers, Slumdog Millionaire, The Ringer, 500 Days of Summer, The Namesake, Napoleon Dynamite, Little Miss Sunshine

...and that doesn't include recent films like Black Swan, 127 Hours, Cyrus, The Tree of Life, and now, Martha Marcy May Marlene.

Don't worry, I haven't see a good portion of those films either! But totally enjoyed the ones I did see.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Movie Review: Martha Marcy May Marlene

A rose by any other name...
Great film. Horrible title. There, glad I got that out of the way. So yes, there has been great hype around this movie, taking film festivals by storm and generating positive buzz from critics. I was luckily enough to finally get a night off with the ol' girlfriend and hit up the theater for the first time in forever. She likes thriller type pictures so I conned her into checking Martha Marcy May Marlene out with me. We both agreed it was a good film, but I think one of us (me) enjoyed it more than the other...

^^if Maggie Gyllenhaal was pretty^^
Martha Marcy May Marlene is a disturbing, psychological thriller. Elizabeth Olsen (yes, Mary-Kate and Ashley's younger sister!) plays Martha, a troubled young woman who reconnects with her estranged sister after having spent the past few years living with a cult out in the wilderness. Martha struggles adapting to the routines of a "normal" household and has frequent flashbacks of her traumatic experiences on the communal farm. Fantasy and reality start to blur, leaving Martha's family and the film's audience just as bewildered as poor Martha.

The film confronts the viewer with acts of an uncomfortable, if not down right twisted nature. Scenes of rape, violence, and plain old awkwardness (skinny dipping in front of your new brother-in-law = lulz) make up the bulk of this film. The rest is carried by the Elizabeth Olsen's uncanny facial expressions and the stoic creepiness exuded by John Hawkes. Olsen's performance is nothing short of fearless. This, her motion picture debut is one people will be talking about for a long while. At first I was like, "Michelle Tanner's sister looks kind of tore up in this movie," but by the end I was like "...Full House? What? All I see is this amazing up and coming actress." As for Hawkes, dude won tons of accolades for his role in Winter's Bone last year and I'm almost positive he'll be back this award season for his chilling portrayal of the Charles Manson-ish cult leader Patrick here in Martha Marcy May Marlene. His character Patrick doesn't actually do much, but the way he carries himself and creeps into the psyche of his followers and even charms the audience is bedazzling.

Jedi Mind Tricks in action
In fact, the entire film mirrors Hawkes performance. It's slow yet mesmerizing. Restrained, yet eerily terrifying. This film may not be for everyone though. My girlfriend enjoyed it yet claimed she wanted "more." A few people were unsatisfied with the film's abrupt ending (like the old guy who screamed, "terrible!" at the screen) but after much consideration, I've decided I liked it just fine. Isn't that the hallmark of a great film anyways? When it stays with you and leaves you asking questions? Great directors are supposed to show the audience, not tell them. First time director Sean Durkin does just that. All the pieces of Martha Marcy May Marlene are there, it's up to the viewer to form their own conclusions.

Friday, November 11, 2011


It's moments like this where I wish I spoke Spanish...

I still lol'd super hard at that video. I imagine it would be funnier if I actually knew what the hell they were saying though =/ 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

21 Jump Street

I've been a busy lad these past two days playing MW3 (and a bad blogger I'll admit). It's been quite the thrill ride. Things were going oh so well. Then, then I learned about some terrible news...

There's a Hollywood remake of the 1980's TV show 21 Jump Street slated for a 2012 release. Worst of all, it star's Jonah Hill. WHY?! WHHHHYYYY?!

For those of you who don't remember, 21 Jump Street was a sweet ass TV show that ran from 1987-1991. It was about a bunch of young looking cops doing undercover work in local high schools, posing as students and busting all the teenage drug dealing/gun running/prostituting scum that was ruining G.H.W. Bush's America. Might sound lame now but man, it had the sickest theme song/intro ever!

SEE! Holly Robinson (Peete) sang that bad boy as well. Oh yeah..and Johnny Depp was on the show too. You know, biggest movie star on the planet.

Now the Hollywood crap factory is shitting out another turd/re-boot

Ok, I laughed like once of twice during that trailer. BUT STILL! I heard (read online) that the original cast are set to make cameos in this new film. If so, count me in, if only for the Vile Nostalgia factor.

Please Hollywood, stop raping my childhood...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Moment of silence for Black Ops

Well, the day is almost here. Call of Duty: MW3 comes out at midnight. That means we all shall officially, be living in a post-Black Ops world tomorrow. Ha. Lame right? All this over a video game but still, serious business you know?

I came into this whole Call of Duty thing a bit late. I didn't own a video game system for years. No, I was content playing Counter Strike on my laptop whenever I couldn't sleep/was bored. My GF didn't like this since I wouldn't answer her calls while pwning noobz on DE_dust so she got me a PS3 one Christmas and a little game called, Modern Warfare 2. The CIA calls this type of shit "blowback." I call it, awesomeness.  I gotta admit, I was pretty unsatisfied with Black Ops multiplayer but the zombies, dear lawd the zombies! I don't even know how many hours of my life I've spent on the Kino Der Toten map with my Ray Gun and Bowie Knife. With Modern Warfare 3 being released in mere hours I'd like to have a brief moment of silence for Black Ops and it's always awesome Zombie Mode.

Ok. Done. I'm playing Zombies one more time before I officially start murdering dudes on MW3.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Crunch Time: Metallica

so let it be written, so let it be done...
Metallica. The biggest metal band on the planet. They're so huge they can cut off their hair, sue their own fans and suck for the better part of thirteen years and STILL play sold out stadiums around the world. My love/hate/love relationship with the band is well documented. It was only a matter of time before I did a Crunch Time feature on the four horsemen and perhaps the greatest song in their repertoire, "Creeping Death."

Usually there's one awesome riff in a song that brings out my inner caveman and makes me want to blog about it from the mountaintops. "Creeping Death," has two! Yes, the first Crunch Time riff comes in at the 0:20 second mark. This main riff is pretty much the heart of song and sets the galloping pace that has gotten heads banging and fists pumping (pre Jersey Shore) for decades! Just hearing this part conjures images of invading nomads swooping down on unsuspecting villages atop demonic horses, armed with fiery swords. Why? Because it's just that awesome.

The 2nd riff comes in after the guitar solo at the 3:38 mark. This is Kirk Hammet's riff he recycled from his days with Exodus and their song, "Die By His Hand." No biggie though, Kirk wrote the riff and just transplanted it into a better song. Still, they kept the lyrics almost exactly the same, tweaking the original phrase into, "...die by my hand." Either way, the playing of this riff makes me stop in place and spontaneously chant "DIE. DIE!" at the top of my lungs.

riff #1- 0:20       riff #2- 3:38

Another thing I love about this jam is, the lyrics. Metallica got the idea for this song while watching a scene from The Ten Commandments and bassist Cliff Burton (R.I.P.) described the plagues against the Pharaoh as being, " creeping death." I totally picture the young dudes in the picture above drunk off their asses and having a total Keanu/Matrix moment.

So there it is. Everything about this song rules. Fantasical/sci-fi lyrics, some of Kirk's finest guitar soloing, these two Crunch Time riffs, and when played live, the INSANE crowd participation during the breakdown. I've already shared my favorite clip of Metallica performing "Creeping Death"
live in my original Metallica/Jason Newsted rant last year (it's from their Wood Stock 99' performance if you're curious). So here's my 2nd favorite live version, from their 1993 concert in Mexico City.

I know Cliff basically named the song, and Rob is a damn fine player and renewed the band's energy...but this video reminds me why I miss Jason Newsted =/

Thursday, November 3, 2011

#OWS: People Are Strange

Did I say strange? I meant idiots. At least the people who partook in this 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll are.

They picked Ronald Reagan. Yes, when asked which president they would choose to steer the nation during these perilous economic times...they picked Ronald Reagan over FDR.

Now I'm not trying to hate on The Gipper. I could rant about how Reagan didn't win The Cold War, bring up the Iran-Contra Affair, his shameful stance on the AIDS epidemic, or his Gestapo tactics against UC students during his tenure as Governor of California...but I'm not going to do any of that. Besides, he liked jelly beans, Star Wars and was kind of senile, so I'll cut him some slack in those areas. What I can't do, is ignore the "voodoo economic" policies his administration implemented during the 1980's that set the field for the warm and fuzzy financial catastrophe we find ourselves in today.

Anyone? Anyone? Voodoo Economics...
Reagan's supply side economic polices, dubbed Reaganomics, were all about lowering taxes, cutting government spending, and deregulating the financial markets. This sound familiar? It's basically the play book from the recent GOP Presidential debates. The only problem doesn't work. Tax cuts usually sound nice, but not when they primarily benefit the wealthy and places a disproportionate burden on those with lower incomes to basically fund the nation. Shrinking the size of government has it's appeal (less functions = less waste), but not when it means cutting services to the very people who are bankrolling the operation in the first place. As for deregulating the financial sector, is it ever a smart idea to reward a gambling junkie with unlimited, federally insured funds? Probably not, or in America's case, definitely not. So Reagan lifted some New Deal regulations and gave Wall Street a license to gamble, and almost bled the middle class dry:

(bonus points for Reagan's son disavowing his Father's handy work!)

So yes, let's bring Reagan back to guide us through this Great Recession. Hell, let's get Jefferson Davis to run the NAACP while we're at. I'm not surprised by the 68% of Republicans who voted for their boy Ronnie in that poll, but man, those 34% of Independents and especially the 16% of Democrats are just, well:

The thing that really gets my eyelids twitching is that Reagan finished above FDR. What the hell are they teaching people in schools? Didn't everyone learn about the Great Depression and Roosevelt's New Deal?! Or his wheel chair cage match with Hitler? No? Guess not =/

I did kind of hate on Reagan a tad in this post. At least I didn't follow this dude's example!